“What qualities do you feel that you could you bring to our customer service team Mr. Macleod?” asked the guy. The guy with the job I apparently aspired to having. I tried to think about what a ‘Customer Services Agent’ should be. All I could think about was John sitting on his couch, watching Richard and Judy, the money rolling into the bank.
“Ehhh, well, I think that given my experience in the bar trade I would be able to eh deal with any problems that customers would have.”
I thought about what I just said. It sounded shit, botched together. He just nodded. There was a moment of silence. I could tell he wanted me to say more. I didn’t have any more to say.
“Would you like to tell me about some of the problems you resolved on the bar?”
I thought about what it was appropriate for me to say.
‘I helped this guy once who really needed a drink because he was an alcoholic. It seemed like a life or death decision.’
‘This really attractive girl came in with no money and asked for a shot of tequila. I gave it to her for free. She was very satisfied with her customer service experience.’
‘I helped myself to a drink behind the bar, thus appointing myself as a customer and as a customer services advisor. Both parties concluded that it was a satisfying customer service experience.’
I looked up at the strip lighting. I couldn’t think of anything. I had to say something.
“I had to deal with customers complaining about various things on a day to day basis.”
“Such as?” he said, looking up from his clipboard.
“Incorrect orders. Incorrect change. Incorrect eh…” I said the last ‘incorrect’ without having anything else to say, “stuff. In general.”
He looked at me, inviting me to continue. I had nothing more to say. I looked over his shoulder, through the glass door at the people with their headsets on. They all sat in perfect rows. I saw a couple of guys with their heads in their hands. I could feel him looking at me looking. He knew what I saw over his shoulder.
“So let me tell you a little about the wage structure here.”
“Okay” I said, looking back at him.
“It’s about £11,000 per year, before tax. There are a lot of opportunities for overtime, so, if you want to, you can earn a lot more than that.”
I thought about overtime in that place. I shuddered.
“You will work three or four 10-12 hour shifts per week. Our employees prefer having three or four days off per week.”
“Twelve hour shifts?” I asked.
“Ten to twelve hour shifts” he corrected me, as if it made a big difference.
I thought about John. While I would be sitting chained by a headset to my desk, listening to people blaming me because their digital TV doesn’t work properly, he would be smoking weed, playing the Xbox and earning almost twice as much as me. I wished I had M.E.
“Do you think you’ll be up to this?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
I thought for a second. I looked at the guy I was supposed to aspire to be. I looked at my reflection in the window to the side, wearing a suit and tie. I looked through the glass door at the people sitting in a row. I looked back to the guy sitting in front of me.
“Yes. Of course.”
“Great. We’ll let you know within the next forty-eight hours Mr. Macleod.”